You probably associate the term “landing pages” primarily with pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Landing pages are critical to a successful PPC campaign because they segment visitors, thus yielding keyword-relevant results pages, increasing conversion rates, and lowering the cost-per-click (CPC) of the ad. Each ad campaign corresponds with its own unique landing page that is relevant to the ad and stripped of any distracting links or messaging. Landing pages aren’t just for PPC, though, which is why this post is entirely about using landing pages for organic SEO segmentation. Here are a few tips for building some bomb-ass organic landing pages:
Step 1. Create Keyword-Targeted Detail Pages
The most important concept to grasp is creating keyword-targeted detail pages with ranking potential for mid- to long-tail keyword phrases. These pages should target 1-5 keywords, and like other well-built landing pages, should link back to relevant pages within the site that yield conversions. One of the most common mistakes we encounter when conducting a site audit is a lack of detail pages. Websites often attempt to stuff too much information into one category-level page, and each page is expected to rank for a myriad of terms. That’s not gonna happen. Making over-stuffed pages is a mistake for a few reasons:
- It ignores the fact that people SCAN web pages. Think about how you navigate a website; most look for specific information quickly by scanning. (Let’s face it: you’re not reading this post word-for-word.) What does catch your eye is price, client testimonials, headlines, and buttons. If you have to dig through mountains of text on a single web page, you will miss important information or a crucial call to action. On the contrary, if there are individual pages dedicated to “pricing,” or “our services,” ranking in the SERPs, this speeds up the process and makes it much more likely that these pages will be visited and the information will be absorbed.
- It also ignores the fact that people already know exactly what they are looking for. There are definite exceptions to this. But most people have a pretty good idea of what they are searching for before they reach a website. If they have trouble finding it, they tend to go to a different site. It’s really that simple.
- It neglects passing link juice to deep pages. Link juice is the equity that passes through pages on a site from internal and external linking. Think of a link as a pipeline for passing this juice. The homepage tends to receive a ton of this liquid equity from external sites, but the difficulty lies in then passing it to other pages deep within the site. If a site succeeds in bringing links exclusively to the top-level pages, the bottom-level pages will be left dry and unable to rank, even though they hold valuable information about products/services.Therefore, detailed landing pages that bring in traffic for long-tail keywords are critical for passing link juice through a site.
- Over-crowded pages increase bounce rates. Even if people are finding what they are looking for on one over-stuffed page (unlikely), this has the potential of increasing your site’s bounce rate. Granted, you might not care about your bounce rate. But, call me paranoid, I have a theory that search engines do.
- Detail pages have higher potential to be ranking for the right terms. Search engines do a pretty good job of understanding what pages in a site are about, but they don’t always get it right. Pages dedicated to one topic have a greater opportunity to portray that topic using a few keywords. A few permutations of one core idea is much more simple to manage than a few permutations of quite a few core ideas.
So, SEO landing pages NEED to be keyword-rich and centered on a specific detail of your products or services. This brings me to my next point:
Step 2. Forget Conversions, Think Substance.
A landing page not centered on conversions? Blasphemy! Ok fine, don’t forget conversions entirely. But don’t concentrate on them solely. It’s true that landing pages are usually created to yield conversions. But so often, landing pages turn into only a contact form and a call to action and nothing more. Yes, these should probably be included somewhere on your landing page, but what it really needs is substance. This substance should correspond with keywords each page is meant to target, as discussed above. So, if you are following Step 1 and creating keyword-rich detail pages, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Step 3. Segment based on Persona and Stage in Conversion Funnel
Each site has visitors in all three stages of the conversion funnel: awareness, consideration, and purchase. In addition, each website has visitors from different demo- and psycho- graphics. So, for example, Evolve’s website has visitors in their mid-30s who are in the awareness stage. They may be building their own website and have heard of SEO and need more information. But Evolve also has visitors in their mid 50s in the purchase stage. These visitors may be the head of the marketing department at an agency looking for an SEO firm to hire. The list goes on. Once you have tapped in to who exactly is visiting your site and what they are looking for, you will be able to create landing pages for each one based on the keywords that they are likely to be searching. Make sense?
Detailed landing pages are crucial for segmenting audiences in the SERPs, for both paid and organic listings. Organic landing pages should be specific and should target keywords that each segment of your audience is likely to be searching. As the search engines continue to change algorithms and re-evaluate relevant search results, I imagine that having segmented organic landing pages will continue to be increasingly important.